Everyone on this planet worships someone or something! Worship is normally thought of in terms of religion, but it equally applies to the secular. Who or what we worship is simply the person or thing which we give the greatest amount of our attention too. The person or pastime we spend the majority of our spare time following. Or it may be that you are a workaholic and spend any spare time working too. So how do we worship our God and creator in a meaningful way? What is it that when we attend church or go for a walk or even what books we read or programmes we watch on the television, what is it that turns
our attention into adoration, or our time into turning our attention towards our Heavenly Father. Are we able to bring to God the worship which he deserves? I do not think that as a created being we could ever bring all the worship he is worthy of, to God our creator, but we can begin in a small way now and continue for all eternity bringing our offering of praise and worship and thanksgiving.
Have you ever been in a large group of people worshiping God? It is a great experience to join with thousands of fellow Christians in worshiping God, and we can be caught up in the moment, I am sure that the whole is more than the sum of each individual, but what God looks at is not what we are doing but the motives that underlie our actions. God is looking for those that worship in spirit and truth, our hearts committed to bringing his love and his mercy and his justice to his world. May your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
At times as we worship it can be more about us, than about God. What do I mean? How do we look at sung worship on a Sunday? Do we wish to sing our favourite songs? There is nothing wrong with having certain songs or playing in a particular way but is that becoming more important to us than the act of worship itself? Let me quote Adele Ahlberg Calhoun again, she puts it better than I can.*
True worship does not equal going to church on Sunday. This is not a particularly new thought. Jesus knew people could attend the synagogue while focusing on the closing of their business deal on Monday or the new house addition on Tuesday. He put it simply: “These people honour me with their lips, / but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8). Worship can be offered in the power of the self rather than in response to the Spirit. True worship of God happens when we put God first in our lives. When what God says matters more than what others say, and when loving God matters more than being loved. Discipline, willpower, giftedness and going to church can be good things. But they do not guarantee transformation. Transformation comes through valuing God above all else. Jesus knew people could do the same things he did: they could heal and perform miracles and preach—but that did not mean that they loved and worshiped God. His words are devastatingly clear: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly. ‘I never knew you’ ” (Matthew 7:22-23). The heart of worship is to seek to know and love God in our own unique way. Each one of us fulfils some part of the divine image. Each one of us loves and glorifies God in a particular way that no one else can. It should not surprise us then that worship styles and tastes differ: traditional, contemporary, liturgical, folk, emerging. One style of worship is not better than another. The quality of worship emerges from the heart and its focus. Worship can touch our deepest feelings. But that is not the litmus test for worship. Feelings can come and go. But the joyous Trinity remains forever worthy. In light of the Trinity’s beauty and loveliness everything else on the horizon of our attention takes its proper secondary place. Above and before all other good things remains the Pearl of great price, the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords.
As we move from Dawlish Christian Fellowship to Hope Church this is a good time to reassess our motives for why we worship, who we worship, and how we worship, May God grant us the ability to agree that we can all join together united in worship, which will result in extending God’s Kingdom throughout our town and surrounding area.
* Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, IVP Books, p45
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